Belgium made their way into the quarter final of World Cup 2018 after eliminating Japan, but it was far from a comfortable win for the Red Devils as they have to fight hard for it.
Winning all of their group games, Roberto Martinez’s side saw themselves tipped as favorite against the Asian representative, which got into the last 16 after a lucky fair play rule.
Martinez’s side tried to take control of proceedings from early on, but Japan set themselves up really well and were able to give food pressure during the first 10-20 minutes.
Belgium finally starting to take control of things and created several good chances which they wasted mostly because of their own doing, trying too many complicated plays in the final third.
The Blues Samurai themselves were playing more on the counter, but also looking really dangerous as they able to fill in the space left by the Red Devils’ wing backs.
Despite both teams’ efforts, no goals were scored during the first 45 minutes as that half ended goalless, forcing both sides to go into their dressing room having to figure things out for the second half.
After the break, it was surprisingly Japan that got on the front foot when a slight mistake from Jan Vertongen led a the Blue Samurai’s swift counter attack turning into goal scored by Genki Haraguchi on 48 minutes.
Belgium tried to react immediately but luck was not on their side when Eden Hazard’s shot hit the bar and things suddenly got more complicated for Martinez’s side when their opponent were able to double their lead through Takashi Inui.
Trailing by two goals, Red Devils didn’t stop battling as they fought hard and able to pull one back from Vertoghen’s sublime looping header on 69 minutes.
Belgium completed their comeback on 74 minutes when substitute Marouane Fellaini heading home a cross from inside the penalty area.
Both teams continue to push forward in the remaining minutes, but it was Martinez’s men that came away with all three points when a swift counter attack right at the dead was finished off by Nacer Chadli, basically ending Japan’s effort late in the game.